Zerky Goes to the Movies

Zerky’s father, Bill Raney, was in the art theatre motion picture business for most of his life, having started out as a janitor in JoAnne’s little theatre, The Movie, in San Francisco’s North Beach district. Listed below are some films depicting the world Zerky traveled through in 1967 and 1968.

You can also get most
of the films below

French filmmaker Louis Malle’s Phantom India is a three-hour documentary filmed the year Zerky was in India. Malle’s roving camera takes us deep into this exotic, diverse and fascinating country. As Malle puts it, “I feel like I’m dreaming with my eyes open.” Here in living color is Zerky’s India.

Images from Louis Malle's Phantom of India

Phantom India: (Seven 50 minute subtitled segments made for French TV, plus Calcutta. Buy both in this 6 DVD set which also includes Malle’s two American documentaries, “God’s Country” and …And the “Pursuit of Happiness”, and also three of his French documentaries, Vive Le Tour, Place de la Republique and Humain, Trop Humain. Buy the Complete 6 DVD Set at Amazon.com (Also available from The Criterion Collection)

The Movies of Satyagit Ray:
Most of Ray’s films are prize-winning art films about ordinary people with universal problems. They speak loudly of the human condition.

The Apu Trilogy is the story of a man’s life. Starting out in a small village in Bengal, the first film, Pather Panchali, tells the story of daily life in a small Bengali village. The chug-chug of a nearby train becomes a metaphor for another world.

In Aparajito, the surviving family moves to the big city, Varanasi (Benares), where Apu’s father is able to earn a pittance as a priest. Much of this second film in the trilogy was shot on the Benares ghats, which are an unforgettable experience. There Bill and JoAnne and Zerky watched the constant stream of cremations that flow into the sacred Ganges River. Bill tried hard to describe it in his “Letter from Benares.” It is to Ganga, the River Goddess, devout Hindus want their ashes returned. Aparajito showcases this ancient city where death is the industry, and where young Apu is taken in tow by a teacher who recognizes his potential greatness.

And finally, in the third film, The World of Apu, Apu grows up to confront the realities of life.

World of Apu Photo World of Apu Photo and Info

Buy The Apu Trilogy (all 3 films) at Amazon.com Or buy them separately
 (at Amazon.com)
Buy Aparajito at Amazon.com
Buy Pather Panchali at Amazon.com
Buy The World of Apu at Amazon.com

Charulatta (The Lonely Wife): An upper-caste wife is married to a well-off newspaper publisher. Like Nora in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, she yearns for more. Charulatta writes a story and sends it to a prestigious literary journal, where it gets published, whereupon her world starts to fall apart. Based on a novel by revered Bengali writer Rabindindrath Tagore. Buy Charulatta (The Lonely Wife) at Amazon.com

The Chess Players: A wry satire in English, Hindi and Urdu, with a touch of Bollywood.

Chess Players - Images

Buy The Chess Players at Amazon.com

The Music Room (Jalsaghar): A slow and quintessentially Bengali film about a man’s obsession with Indian classical music. JoAnne nearly lost her theatre over this one, when the film’s distributor made her pay-off a guaranteed overly-large pile of money, after it bombed. Buy The Music Room at Amazon.com

Review of Jalsaghar

Jalsaghar Poster

Jalsaghar Photo Jalsaghar Photo

Kapurush: Made on a miniscule budget, this is the story of two one-time college lovers who meet accidentally after many years. She, married-off by her parents, he, his heart broken. Illicit temptation fuels a steamy re-awakened romance, Bengali-syle. Buy Only with Mahapurush (The Holy Man) included (from Amazon.com)

A New Documentary from India:
Born into Brothels (2005): An unforgettable portrait of children living in the red light district of Calcutta, where their mothers work as prostitutes. New York photographer Zana Briski gives each of the children a camera and teaches them how to look at the world with a new view. Buy Born into Brothels at Amazon.com

Some Zerky Films from Iran:
Rick Steves’ Iran:
Prepare to be surprised when you learn how much Americans are welcomed in Iran. Steves and his camera crew are welcome wherever they go. A fascinating, bridge-building documentary. Buy Rick Steves’ Iran at Amazon.com
Buy The Color of Paradise (Academy Award Winner) at Amazon.com

Buy Turtles Can Fly (Academy Award Nominee) at Amazon.com

A Zerky Film about Afghanistan:
Buy The Kite Runner (Filmed in Kashgar, China) at Amazon.com

Some Zerky Films from Europe:
Buy Forbidden Games, France (Rene Clement) at Amazon.com

Buy La Strada Italy (Fellini, with Anthony Quinn) at Amazon.com

Buy Kolya at Amazon.com

Buy Cinema Paradiso Italy (Academy Award Winner) at Amazon.com
Buy My Life as a Dog (Award Winner from Sweden) at Amazon.com

Buy Small Change, France (Francois Truffaut) at Amazon.com

Small Change Images

Buy Butterfly, Spain at Amazon.com
Buy The Italian, Russia at Amazon.com